There’s an ageless axiom in sport that says: “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish that matters most.”
Oh, how true that is for the pre-teen kids that made up the Johnston Little League’s 2018 Lions Club sponsored squad.
In short, the Lions were in a dog-fight of sorts with the Countyview Landscaping-sponsored Athletics, who just so happened to be the defending Johnston Little League champions.
But 2018 was much, much different for the orange and black Orioles, a Major Division team that’s steeped with history and goes back when current manager Robert Civetti was his father’s assistant coach and names like Richard DelFino Jr. managed the club and two of his stars just so happened to be his sons, Richard J. DelFino III and David DelFino.
“This was a classic close finish – right until the end of the season,” Civetti, a Johnston Town Councilman and long-time supporter and leader in the town’s youth sports programs. “There was only one game difference between the Orioles and Athletics.”
The Orioles won the regular season championship, amassing an impressive 17-3 won-lost record that enabled the Johnston Lions Club-sponsored club to edge the Athletics, the green and gold of manager Ed Pannone’s pack that posted a 16-4 overall mark.
“We split the regular season match-ups with the A’s,” Civetti offered, each of us winning two and losing two games. “But we won the run differential by seven and also finished the season with a league best in runs allowed with 59 and six shutouts.”
The Orioles were second best in runs scored this season, finishing with 151. The Athletics, though, won that category with 171 runs cored and were second in runs allowed at 89.
“Our kids were one happy group,” Civetti said with a smile on his face while high-fivin’ some players. “They’ll remember this 2018 season forever.”
The 2018 champion Orioles are: Kevin Biscelli, Christopher Civetti, Anthony DiIorio, Dylan Guernon, Dillon So, Dean Parish, Preston Marchesseault, Antonio Morales, Mason Caramante, Christian Ferranti and Tyler Holton. Civettti’s coaches were Raphael Diaz and Anthony DiIorio.